Atherosclerotic plaques consist of complex accumulation of arterial smooth muscle cells that have been stimulated to proliferate excessively. Latent viral infection cause cell destruction, alter cellular metabolism, or induce transformation of infected cells and are now implicated to play a role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. (Courtesy Elsevier, Inc., ScienceDirect
. Used with permission.)
In this course we will explore the new emerging field of pathogen-induced chronic diseases. Work in this field has redefined the causes of some major disorders, such as ulcers. By reading the primary research literature we will learn about the molecular mechanisms through which pathogens cause disease. The diseases that we cover will be introduced with a short patient case study. We will discuss the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and gastric disease, HPV and cervical cancer, hepatitis C virus and liver disease, Epstein-Barr virus and lymphoma, Cytomegalovirus and atherosclerosis, as well as diabetes and multiple sclerosis. We will study technical advances in the fight against microbes and explore future directions for new treatment strategies of chronic infections and inflammation.
This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.